The Traditional Dishes You'll Enjoy For Breakfast In Italy

espresso and pastry
espresso and pastry - Alessio Orru/Shutterstock

For a cuisine famous the world over, Italian food often gets pigeonholed into a few famous dinner and dessert dishes: pasta, pizza, gelato, and tiramisu. Italian breakfast, on the other hand, gets little attention in the discussion of the best breakfasts in the world. This might be partly because many visitors to the country tend to take the continental breakfast included in their hotel stay. But it's also due to the simplicity that characterizes the meal for most Italians, who prefer to keep breakfast light and quick, rather than a deep cultural or culinary experience.

Break out of your hotel in Italy in the morning, and you'll see the pastry shops and coffee bars doing brisk business, but you'll probably only find two things in front of locals: a cup of coffee and a pastry. For the first, latte, cappuccino, and espresso are the most common, while the latter generally comes as a cornetto, or "little horn," which resembles a croissant but is sweeter. In Milan, it's called "brioche," instead. Traveling further afield in Italy tends to change it to the local specialty — for example, the sfogliatelle puff pastry in the Campania region, biscotti in Tuscany, and brioscia in Sicily. All over, pastry remains dominant.

Read more: 44 Types Of Pasta And When You Should Be Using Them

Italian Breakfast Outside The Box

a ciambella on plate
a ciambella on plate - Ivan Canavera/Getty Images

Not everyone thrives on caffeine in Italy, and a leading option for breakfast to avoid it is caffè d'orzo, made from roasted ground barley grains and pressed through a coffee or espresso maker. Not only does it look like regular coffee, it delivers many of the same nutty notes and can even be made into a cappuccino-esque version with milk. Italian hot chocolate is another option. Thick and rich, it has the consistency and texture of a chocolate pudding pulled out of the oven a few minutes too soon. Head south to Sicily and switch the hot for cold with a granita, a shaved ice treat infused with coffee, toasted almonds, and more.

On the heartier side, Italian breakfast fare might include crespelle, the Italian version of the crepe. Sweet versions often include fruit and cream, while savory ones may combine ricotta, spinach, and prosciutto. Find further richness in a ciambella, an Italian breakfast cake. Essentially a bundt cake, it generally comes in a lemon and olive oil flavor. Eggs don't usually play a significant role in Italian breakfasts but can be found in frittatas and dishes like the wonderfully named uova al Purgatorio, or "eggs in Purgatory," which serves them poached in a spicy tomato sauce. All of these make for delicious additions to the 25 Italian dishes you need to try at least once and your favorite breakfast recipes to start your day.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.